May 21, 2020

1 Peter 4:12-14 … “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” vs 12

Believers are regularly promised in the New Testament writings that they should not be surprised when suffering came their way. Times were different and persecutions came sporadically but inevitably to people of faith. They are told by their leaders that they should regard these ordeals as a test of their faith and an opportunity to identify with the sufferings that Jesus endured. We are fortunate not to live in such times, but that doesn’t mean we are immune to testing. Many of us haven’t been able to gather for in-person worship for months, and some are growing weary of the forced solitude. The loneliness that is endemic in our fast-paced world is becoming more intense and it’s been hard for congregational leaders to know how to respond. Staff members have been let go, while youth and music ministries have pretty much ground to a halt. Many congregations have applied for government assistance—something they’d never even thought of in years past. The challenges are enormous, and because of the nature of COVID-19, it seems that life in our churches will not return to normal for many months. The good news is that with the struggle will come endurance. Already the Spirit is at work among us, new models for ministry are emerging, and the Church of Christ will be stronger than ever! We can count on it!

Thought for the Day: How is the present crisis making the church stronger?